Guess who got owned
Team Liquid holds Grudge Match – CS:GO vs Valorant
Upcoming tactical shooter Valorant by Riot Games is only in its beta but it has quickly established itself as a soon-to-be esports force. Already pro players are committing to a professional Valorant scene that doesn’t even really officially exist yet.
- Esports professionals switch to Valorant
- Psalm: Runner-up in the Fortnite World Cup explains his switch to Valorant
It didn’t take long for Team Liquid to join in on the fun: in a so-called Grudge Match, Team Liquid led a band of merry streamers, current and former pro players, all waiting to make the jump to Valorant, run a scrimmage against TL’s professional CS:GO squad.
Lucas “Mendo” Håkansson
Coby “dizzy” Meadows
Jake “POACH” Brumleve
Brandon “Ace” Winn
Justin “Kellar” Kellar
Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski
Jacky “Stewie2k” Yip
Keith “NAF” Markovic
Nicholas “nitr0” Cannella
Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken (replaced by Jordan “n0thing” Gilbert in Game 1)
The tables are set
Since this Grudge Match was played on Valorant only, we chose to watch the scrimmage from Team Valorant’s perspective on Mendo’s Twitch stream.
And immediately, there was a problem. Right before the scrimmage started, Mendo announced that NRG’s dizzy just texted him – 20 minutes before the scheduled start time – that he wasn’t sure if he could make the scrimmage tomorrow.
Yeah… someone really must’ve missed the “when & where” memo or taken their gamer tag too seriously.
But luckily, Mendo had just gotten out of a game with Michael “shroud” Grzesiek, who was happy to sub in on no-notice, without even knowing what was actually going on. He asked Mendo to fill him in on the details behind this scrimmage against Team Liquid’s established CS squad and then summarized as follows:
“So you’re all trying to be at the top of Valorant?”
“That’s gonna be tough.”
Wise words of caution from the former Cloud9 CS:GO pro...
Best of 3 – Game 1
For Team Valorant, Mendo, Shroud, POACH, Ace and Kellar chose agents Sage, Jett, Brimstone, Phoenix and Cypher respectively.
Team CS saw EliGE, Stewie2k, NAFF, Nitr0 and N0thing run with Phoenix, Raze, Brimstone, Sage and Breach.
- VALORANT's agent Jett – abilities and how to play
- Sage is Valorant's first support agent
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The CS squad started the first game on the Split map on Defense and quickly jumped out to a four-to-nothing lead. Shroud seemed to be the only one with his head in the game for Team Valorant and it took them until Round 6 to get a win on the board, courtesy of a well-timed resurrection by Mendo. This shows why Sage is invaluable on any team composition.
Team Valorant then got into a groove and eventually POACH clutched Round 8 for a 4-4 tie. While Team Valorant was clearly being out-aimed, they used efficiently the game’s trademark – Agent abilities. Nevertheless, they faced a 5-7 deficit at the half.
However, the Round 12 switch from Attackers to Defenders saw Team Valorant flourish and with good eco and smart ability usage, they compensated for Team CS’ superior aim and team play to bring it to a close 10-10.
Mendo, who was playing on Sage, proved a vocal team leader. He kept calling out plays and positions, even staying almost too true to his role as support as the Swede had trouble finding kills. This led to Team CS continuously out-aiming and outplaying Team Valorant to finally reach a 13-10 win in Game 1.
The walk-on substitute Shroud was the only beacon of light on the losing team with 30 kills. Who knows, maybe the 25-year-old was just waiting for the right time to announce his comeback as a professional Valorant player.
Best of 3 – Game 2
Losers get to pick and so Team Valorant chose to start Game 2 as Defenders on Haven and its three bomb sites, with the vocal Mendo predicting:
“I think we can win on Haven.”
Apex Legends… uhm… legend Ace switched to the more agile Jett, hoping to conjure up some more of his… uhm… legendary (ok, we’re done) Apex magic in Valorant. Shroud took on the role of Phoenix, who’d allow him to continue his aggressive play.
Seeing that the larger Haven map has more nooks and corners, POACH picked the wall-hugging, walking earthquake Breach and Keller swapped Cypher for Brimstone.
Team CS exchanged N0thing for Twistzz and replaced their Raze pick with a Cypher.
Game 2 was up and running and so was Mendo seemed to finally find his kills with a team-leading 7 frags over the first 5 rounds. Nonetheless, Team CS jumped out to a 4-1 lead. Team Valorant tried to make Round 6 magic happen yet again but EliGE clutched the round for Team CS who then continued rolling to an 11-1 half-time lead.
Ace used some quick math to determine that “if they can get 11, we can get 12.” A half-time speech for the ages that had Team Valorant come into the switch refueled and ready to go... only to immediately go down 12-1.
Ace was not one to be flustered, however, nor did he suffer from a shortage of motivational quotes: “We just need 12 straight. Never been done before. Let’s go.” Ever the man of infinite motivation, his team could unfortunately not heed his call: Team CS ran them over. 13 to 1. Superior aim continued to reign and Game 2 was in the books, with the best-of-3 decided in favor of Liquid’s pro team.
Against the well-oiled machine
Ace summed up the loss, saying:
“they’ve been playing CS as a team for 6 years. They’re just out-aiming us. It’s CS aim mechanics. If anyone’s gonna be good at the game, it’s them.”
His team agreed. No harm done, the better team simply won. Mendo added:
“It’s good to lose against a good team. You learn something with every loss,”
Without dropping his support role, he wasn't ready to give up just yet and declared: “I’m down to get d**ked on some more.” An inviting sentiment to which Team CS kindly suggested scrambling the teams. Mendo, however, wasn’t having it, saying:
“If I get s**t on, I wanna get s**t on with pride.”
Ok then... You do you. And so the scrimmage continued, with the team of eager soon-to-be Valorant studs hoping to learn some more from Team Liquid’s well-oiled CS squad.
Shroud might not have yet publicly declared any intentions to go pro in Valorant but we will likely see Ace, Mendo, Keller and POACH around the game’s pro scene as time goes on. In fact, we’ll see most of them again on April 14 at the 100 Thieves Invitational where Team Shroud will go up against Team TimTheTatMan (featuring POACH, Ace and Mendo), Team Yassuo and Team CouRage.
Try not to miss it, but, if you do, you’ll get the full coverage here, at EarlyGame.